War Room (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alex Kendrick|
|Music by||Paul Mills|
|Cinematography||Bob M. Scott|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Box office||$74 million|
War Room is a 2015 American Christian drama film directed by Alex Kendrick and written by himself and Stephen Kendrick. It is the Kendrick brothers' fifth film and their first through their subsidiary, Kendrick Brothers Productions. Provident Films, Affirm Films and TriStar Pictures partnered with the Kendrick brothers to release the film.
The film was released in North American theaters on August 28, 2015, and received generally negative reviews from critics, but became a box office success and a sleeper hit, grossing $74 million worldwide including $67.8 million domestically to become the 7th highest-grossing Christian film in the United States.
Tony (T.C. Stallings) and Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla Shirer) appear outwardly successful with a big house, plenty of money, and a beautiful daughter Danielle (Alena Pitts). Behind the facade however, Tony and Elizabeth's relationship is strained (as he is being both verbally abusive and thinking about cheating) and his job as a pharmaceutical salesman means he is almost never there for his daughter.
Elizabeth, a realtor, goes to work with the elderly Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) to sell her house. Miss Clara senses the stress Elizabeth is under, and suggests that Elizabeth fight for their marriage by praying for Tony. Miss Clara shows Elizabeth a special closet she has dedicated to praying, and calls it her "War Room" because as she puts it, "In order to stand up and fight the enemy, you need to get on your knees and pray." As Elizabeth starts to seriously pray for her husband, Tony is away on a business trip, but is having dinner with a beautiful woman who invites him back to her apartment. Just as he is about to leave with her, he becomes nauseous and runs to the bathroom to throw up.
Shortly afterward, Tony is fired for stealing drug samples. Realizing he has hit rock bottom, he rededicates his life to God. Unknown to Elizabeth and Danielle, he has been keeping several samples for himself. He now realizes that he has to return them, even though it could potentially send him to prison. Tony's former boss is moved by his willingness to admit his wrongdoing and make amends, and decides not to press charges. Tony begins to show an interest in his daughter's jump roping skills and offers to participate with her and her friends in the upcoming double Dutch competition at the local community center. Tony and his daughter's team takes second place in the competition creating a new bond between him and his daughter. Elizabeth successfully sells Miss Clara's house to a retired pastor who realizes someone has been praying in the closet. Shortly afterwards, Tony is offered a job as the director of the community center. Although the pay isn't nearly what he was making as a pharmaceutical salesman, he realizes that with the income from this new job combined with Elizabeth picking up some extra work, the family can make a budget and survive.
The film ends with Tony giving Elizabeth her favorite dessert while he gives her a foot massage, something she loves, and Miss Clara, now living with her son, praying a powerful prayer in the still of the night.
- Priscilla Shirer as Elizabeth Jordan
- T.C. Stallings as Tony Jordan
- Karen Abercrombie as Miss Clara Williams
- Alex Kendrick as Coleman Young
- Michael Jr. as Michael
- Alena Pitts as Danielle Jordan
- Beth Moore as Mandy
- Tenae Downing as Veronica Drake
- Ben Davies as Policeman
For this film, Alex and Stephen Kendrick decided to move away from Sherwood Pictures, the church based film production company which had previously produced their films. In part the brothers left because they felt that the movie-making was distracting from other parts of the church's ministry, with Alex telling The Hollywood Reporter that they felt "We were the elephant in the room." Instead, the brothers produced the film through FaithStep Films and released it through Sony Pictures. Regarding the title of the film, director Kendrick says "We called it 'War Room' because, like the military, we should seek God for the right strategy before going into combat. By combat, I mean daily issues we face in our culture." The brothers got their inspiration from prayer, with Alex stating that he believes even the idea of a war room was given to them by God.
Principal photography took place over a three-month period during the summer of 2014 in several North Carolina locations, including Charlotte, Kannapolis, Concord, Hickory and Birkdale Village in Huntersville. At Oakwood Cemetery in Concord, two different scenes set 40 years apart were filmed. Through special effects, the Charlotte skyline, larger trees and some additional headstones were added.
Initial plans had the main characters being white; however, Alex began having dreams about a predominantly African-American cast and, believing that God was trying to tell him something, the brothers switched the characters to make it more in line with Alex's dream. Early on, Sony expressed some concerns over a film with a mostly African-American cast produced by a white-led production company, but the brothers stuck to the premise.
Several characters in the film are African-American and being released only months after the Charleston church shooting, those involved with the film say they don't believe that the timing of the film's release is a coincidence. According to director Kendrick, when Affirm Films first saw the film, they said, "If this had been told with a different race, it would be a different movie."
Stallings, who plays a major role in the film, says, "There are many people out there—white and black—who stay with their families and work through their problems. They aren’t thugs or gang leaders. War Room tells the truth about society by showing the reverse of that stereotype. Racial tension is dangerous and people are dying and a lot of us want to see that stopped. We protest and speak out and tweet out, but this problem is much bigger than human beings. This movie will give people a way to take these problems to the Lord and show them that prayer is the best weapon to fight back."
Provident Label Group and Sony Music Entertainment released a soundtrack with music from and inspired by the film and the film's original motion picture score by Paul Mills. They were both released on August 7, 2015.
(Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture)
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||August 7, 2015|
|Label||Provident Label Group / Sony Music Entertainment|
|1.||"Warrior"||Steven Curtis Chapman|
|4.||"Me Without You (Remix)"||TobyMac|
|5.||"Crazy Faith"||John Waller|
|6.||"Shake Yourself Loose"||Vickie Winans|
|7.||"Amen"||I Am They|
|8.||"To Know You"||Casting Crowns|
|9.||"Healing Begins"||Tenth Avenue North|
|10.||"Movie Score – (Raise ‘Em Up, Lord / Rekindle the Fire)"||Paul Mills|
(Original Motion Picture Score)
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||August 7, 2015|
|Label||Provident Label Group / Sony Music Entertainment|
All music is composed by Paul Mills.
|2.||"Mad Ball"||Paul Mills||0:45|
|3.||"Wall of Remembrance"||Paul Mills||0:36|
|4.||"Slick Salesman"||Paul Mills||1:17|
|6.||"I Call It My War Room"||Paul Mills||2:26|
|8.||"Love Me a Little"||Paul Mills||1:38|
|9.||"My Favorite Rep"||Paul Mills||1:07|
|10.||"Do It for Me"||Paul Mills||0:46|
|11.||"Knife Point"||Paul Mills||0:28|
|12.||"Truth and Grace"||Paul Mills||1:37|
|13.||"Learning to Fight"||Paul Mills||7:25|
|14.||"Kicking Out the Devil"||Paul Mills||2:28|
|15.||"Tired Sense"||Paul Mills||2:07|
|17.||"Discovering the War Room"||Paul Mills||1:23|
|18.||"Forgive Me"||Paul Mills||3:13|
|19.||"I Was Impressed"||Paul Mills||0:58|
|20.||"I Am Not Done with Us"||Paul Mills||2:58|
|21.||"I Can Do Better"||Paul Mills||1:56|
|22.||"Jump with Us"||Paul Mills||1:00|
|23.||"My Bonus Plan"||Paul Mills||1:15|
|24.||"Whatever the Consequences"||Paul Mills||2:31|
|25.||"That Was Grace"||Paul Mills||2:16|
|26.||"Baked In"||Paul Mills||1:09|
|27.||"Answer to My Prayers"||Paul Mills||3:29|
|28.||"Good Samaritan"||Paul Mills||1:22|
|29.||"That’s My Dad"||Paul Mills||0:34|
|30.||"Raise ‘Em Up, Lord"||Paul Mills||3:24|
|31.||"Rekindle the Fire"||Paul Mills||2:32|
War Room grossed $67.8 million in the United States and Canada and $6.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $74 million, against a production budget of $3 million.
War Room made an estimated $600,000 from Thursday night shows, which began at 7 p.m. in 1,017 theaters. On its opening day, the film grossed $4 million. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $11.4 million, more than double initial projections, finishing second at the box office behind third-week number one holder Straight Outta Compton ($13.1 million) with only 1/3 the number of theaters and twice the gross revenue per theater.
In its second weekend, the film finished first at the box office with $9.5 million, and became the first film to reach the number 1 spot at the North American box office with a gross of less than $10 million since The Possession reached number 1 in its second weekend with $9.31 million during the same weekend in 2012. Over its four-day Labor Day weekend, the film posted an 18% increase with a weekend total of $13.4 million from 1,526 screens. Regarding War Room's box office performance, CNN said "some might call it a faith-based David versus the secular Goliaths in the entertainment industry". It still ranked number 3 in its third week, increasing its screen count to 1,647 with revenue of $7.8 million (18% drop). It increased it screen count by 295, but dropped to sixth place to $6.2 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 33% based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 4.4/10. Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 26 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a rare average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak-surveyed filmgoers gave the film a 73% "definite recommend".
The Los Angeles Times called the film "more of a Bible study than anything else" and "so heavy on broad pulpit pounding that it’s challenging to get swept away by the story’s message." The A.V. Club called it "structurally listless and unimaginative", and said that it was "creepy to encourage women to believe the true source of their husbandly woes is Satan rather than an issue that probably needs to be discussed."
Christian-focused publications gave it positive reviews, however. The Christian Post praised the film, calling it better than Courageous and Fireproof. According to Crosswalk.com "it comes as good news that War Room is a step up for the Kendricks, who continue to develop as filmmakers."
War Room was released on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on December 22, 2015. The film debuted in second place on the home video chart behind Minions. The following week, War Room reached the top spot of the home video sales chart. As of June 2019[update], the film has made $47.2 million from home media sales.
Awards and nominations
|Most Inspiring Movie - MovieGuide Faith & Values Awards||Won|
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- Jonathan Merritt (August 13, 2015). "Christian moviemakers opt for black cast after glut of whitewashed faith films". Religion News. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
- "War Room (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
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- Hadley, Alicia. "Faith-Based "War Room" Promotes Healing Through Fervent Prayer". NBC News. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
- "Cabarrus-filmed 'War Room' stuns Hollywood with $11M opening". Independent Tribune. August 31, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
- Funk, Tim (September 2, 2015). "Christian film shot in Charlotte area makes box office splash". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- Funk, Tim (September 2, 2015). "City a star in 'War Room'". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- ""War Room" Has The One Thing Many Christian Films Don't Have – A Black Cast". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- "War Room Soundtrack". Warroomthemovie.com. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- "iTunes – Music – War Room (Original Motion Picture Score) by Paul Mills". Itunes.apple.com. August 7, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- "Steven Curtis Chapman – "Warrior" (feat. scenes from War Room)". YouTube. August 26, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- Dave McNary. "Box Office: 'We Are Your Friends' Beaten by 'War Room' Thursday". Variety. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
- Anthony D'Alessandro. "'War Room' Box Office Starts With $600K, Beating Zac Efron Movie". Deadline. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
- McClintock, Pamela (February 22, 1999). "Box Office: Faith-Based 'War Room' Ties With 'Compton' on Friday". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 29, 2015.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for August 28–30, 2015". Box Office Mojo. September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- Simanton, Keith (September 6, 2015). "Weekend Report -'War Room' Walks to #1". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- "Lowest Grossing Movies to Rank #1 at the Weekend Box Office". boxofficemojo.com.
- "September 4-7, 2015". Box Office Mojo. September 7, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
- Lisa Respers France, CNN (September 8, 2015). "How 'War Room' is winning the battle of the box office". CNN.
- "War Room (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
- "War Room reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- "Faith-Based 'War Room' Bible-Belts 'Straight Outta Compton' at Box Office". The Wrap. September 6, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- "'War Room' Is Better Than 'Courageous' and 'Fireproof'". Christian Post.
- "Kendrick Brothers Starting to Win the Battle with War Room". Crosswalk.com.
- December 22, 2015: This Week on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD comingsoon.net, Retrieved December 31, 2015
- ‘War Room’ Makes Strong Debut, But ‘Minions’ Still No. 1 on Disc Charts Variety, Retrieved December 31, 2015
- ‘War Room’ Takes Top Spot on Home Video Sales Chart Variety, Retrieved January 8, 2016
- "'War Room,' 'Coat of Many Colors' Take Top Prizes at Movieguide Awards". Variety.
- "47th Annual GMA Dove Awards". NewsOK.com.